Family Economic Mobility Toolkit

Phase 4: Goal Setting with Families

Setting goals with individual families has always been an important focus for Head Start programs, and that includes goals related to family economic mobility. These seven steps can be easily applied to family economic mobility goals.

7 Steps for Setting and Reaching Goals with Families

Step 1

Set a Goal

Step 2

Identify Skills

Step 3

Assess Strengths

Step 4

Examine Stressors

Step 5

Explore Strategies

Step 6

Determine Support

Step 7

Track Progress and Celebrate Success

You can use these steps with families to generate ideas for how to prioritize their family economic mobility interests and goals. Build on what you learn in your conversations during the earlier phases of the family partnership process. Together, you can discuss the skills and strengths that each of you can contribute toward the family’s financial, career, and education goals and consider the stressors that may impact the process.

These discussions help you and the family work together to develop strategies and action steps for family members to reach their goals. The Seven Steps can help you discover the resources that families may need to make progress toward certain goals. Finally, you can look at family progress, revisit family priorities, and celebrate, as family members decide what success is for them and their family.

Learn more icon.

Dig deeper into the seven steps with The Family Partnership Process: Engaging and Goal-Setting with Families and use the included Sample Worksheet and Questions to guide family economic mobility goal-setting with families. Read on to see the steps applied to family economic mobility and family scenarios.

Types of Family Goals

Each family sets different goals as family members work on building their own foundations for economic mobility. A family’s goals may be influenced by their interests, skills, values, and needs.

  • Increasing income, building savings, and decreasing debt. Many families are pursuing financial security, or want to have enough money to pay for expenses, save for emergencies, and have enough left over to save for the future. Research shows that financial security brings peace of mind because with it, individuals can more easily focus on raising their children or reaching their own education and employment goals.[14]
  • Building knowledge and increase access. Financial capability refers to the knowledge and skills required to manage financial resources and the ability to access safe and responsibly designed financial products and services.[15]
  • Building skills, finding employment, and exploring careers. Many families seek learning opportunities to advance their economic mobility. These may include language instruction, certificate and degree programs, and job training. Families may set goals related to jobs and career plans.
Ideas for action icon.

There is no right way for a family to approach goal-setting!

Families and individuals can vary widely in how they approach goal-setting. There is no one way to set and make progress toward goals, so it is important to be responsive to the family’s style and follow their lead.

Goal-setting Frameworks: BROAD and SMART

Head Start and Early Head Start staff are familiar with setting Bold, Responsive, Organization-wide, Aspirational, and Dynamic (BROAD) program goals, with Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) objectives. Some frameworks describe goals as SMART as well – and both concepts work! If a resource uses the SMART framework for goal-setting, consider how you can connect or translate it into the framework that works best for you and for families.

Resources for families icon.Use Your Money, Your Goals tools to support families in goal-setting.